Just one person has been diagnosed with coronavirus overnight, health authorities announced as they discuss a plan to relax regulations aimed at preventing the spread.

It continues a trend of low daily cases and brings the total number of people to have contracted the virus in Malta to 444. More than a third, 166, have since recovered and three people have died.  

Superintendent of Public Health Charmaine Gauci announced the details in her daily news briefing on the situation.

The new case is an 18-year-old Maltese woman, who began experiencing symptoms on April 18. Another two family members have also shown symptoms of the virus.

She was the only positive case of 808 tests carried out on Tuesday but Gauci warned people not to become relaxed about the situation in order to prevent a spike in numbers.

"Although positive numbers are low, we are a small country, and numbers vary day by day, so we also focus on reproductive rate and contact tracing."

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She has previously said Malta's coronavirus reproduction factor has been recorded at 1.1, which means that those infected are now passing it on to an average of just over one person.

Asked about whether the measures to prevent virus spread - such as the closure of non-essential shops - would now be relaxed, she said a plan is being prepared.

"We are looking into the spread of the virus, before deciding to relax any rules or guidelines," she said.

"We are preparing a plan for the relaxation of regulations, just as authorities would also be prepared to reintroduce measures if the spread restarts."

There are 276 'active' cases of the infection after a further 15 people recovered from the virus, including seven people over the age 60, considered a vulnerable group.

Health care workers

Gauci revealed that ten per cent of the overall cases have been healthcare workers, meaning 44 people on the frontline fighting the virus have themselves become ill. 

She also told reporters that the authorities are still discussing whether or not to advise people to wear masks in public places as part of a prevention measure. 

Currently health workers are wearing both masks and head visors, which are being produced in Malta by engineers and which will also be handed out to GPs.

Clinical trials

Gauci revealed that one patient, who is on a ventilator, is involved in a clinical trial and is stable.

She said patients were receiving "multiple treatments" but did not elaborate.

"We are seeing good results through the treatment they are receiving - which includes medicinal treatment and monitoring by clinicians," she said.


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